Ocean Floor Should Be Mapped Like Space

OceanIt cannot be contested that research technology has come a long way. We are now able to garner vast amounts of information by running pieces of it through a program, or by manipulating a robot with human-esque hands to explore the depths of the ocean. In the field of space exploration, new technology has been a game changer. Researchers have been able to generate detailed maps of the moon and mars with modern technology. Unfortunately, only 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped with said technology. In order to truly be able to understand the ocean, we must survey it like we would survey, say, the moon.

I believe that, with international commitment and cooperation, we could map the entire ocean floor for around the cost of one mission to mars. The reasons to do this are insurmountable. For example, measurements of the ocean floor would allow us to properly discover its usability. Offshore wind farms would be much more plausible if we knew how each section of the world’s oceans are shaped, and how deep they are. Also, it is a matter of safety. Further understanding the ocean will lead to better predictability of potentially catastrophic weather events, such as storm surges.

Our lack of knowledge about the ocean floor has been an issue in the past. For example, remember the crash of airliner MH370? The Malaysian plane crashed in a part of the ocean that has not been mapped with modern technology. Therefore, the ocean floor in that area had to be mapped out during the search for the airliner, which was months of work that would have been unnecessary had we already known about the size and depths of the ocean.

Of course, obtaining this necessary information about the ocean will be time-consuming and costly. This is the main reason behind our lack of knowledge about much of the ocean floor. However, if simply having more knowledge about the ocean is our goal, there are ways to cut down on costs and researchers necessary to complete the task. Personally, I have suggested releasing a large, unscrewed barge carrying equipment that could explore the ocean for much less than the cost of a conventional mission. It would have a sonar to sweep the ocean floor, and be able to be controlled remotely, meaning that it would never have to enter port. This is the most viable option to explore the ocean floor while addressing the concerns of cost and manpower.

All in all, we need more knowledge of the ocean floor. It is not ideal to be living on a planet that is 70% water without knowing about the water. That basically means we don’t have concrete details about 70% of our planet. I believe if the international community can band together and commit itself to mapping the ocean floor, we can further utilize oceans to help the planet and make them safer overall.

ArcticNet Meets to Discuss Climate Change

This week, many experienced Climate Scientists are convening in Vancouver to talk about climate change. ArcticNet is a conference that is held for such scientists annually in different locations, but this one is particularly daunting. The climate in the northern hemisphere is being altered rapidly, and the scientists are going over the repercussions to the Arctic if something is not changed immediately.

Of course, global climate change is affecting the entire earth. However, the Arctic is being affected by climate change much more quickly than any other part of the planet. By the year 2050, it is going to suffer from a temperature increase of at least 4 degrees if something is not done.

What are some of the things to be concerned about if greenhouse gas emissions are not regulated? ArcticNet came up with many answers. Scientists predict that the time snow spends on the ground will decrease by at least a month, and the amount of precipitation in seasons such as Spring and Fall will increase. This means that there will be a shorter period in which ice forms in the Arctic’s lakes and rivers. The Arctic may even have an entire summer without ice in its future.

Rapid change in the Arctic, of course, will affect other parts of the world as well. Sea levels are rising everywhere because the Arctic’s glaciers are melting faster than they have in 2,000 years. This increases the chance of more frequent and damaging storms, and the scientists cannot accurately predict exactly how the weather in specific regions will change. There is no doubting, however, that these changes will have a detrimental impact on wildlife in all affected regions. It will also, eventually, change how we must live our lives.

ArcticNet houses the largest community of arctic scientists in the world. The conference happens yearly so scientists can get together and discuss climate change and how it affects animal migration patterns, health, environment, and the community. This particular year’s conference was a pressing one because the situation in the Arctic is more dire than ever. However, the conference provides hope for the future. Not only are top scientists convening to see what can be done to prevent further climate change, but there are new young people joining this conference every year. A new generation is getting involved in saving the planet, and that provides hope that the fight against climate change will be continued for years to come.

For more information about the ArcticNet conference, go to CBC News.

2015 Summer the Arctic Sea Ice Was 4th Lowest on Record

This animation by NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio shows the progression of the Arctic sea ice cover from its wintertime maximum extent, reached on Feb. 25, 2015, to its yearly minimum, reached on Sept. 11, 2015. Since the beginning of the satellite era, the Arctic sea ice cover has now experienced its lowest extent on record this winter and it’s fourth lowest extent this summer.

NASA, in conjunction with the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, recently released an analysis of their satellite data, and declared that the 2015 Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the fourth lowest on record. On Sept. 11, 2015, the ice covered 1.7 million square miles (4.41 million square kilometers), which, to put into perspective, is 699,000 square miles (1.81 million square km) less than the average minimum for all years between 1981 and 2010. In the photo below, you can see that difference between the 1981-2010 average superimposed as a gold line over this years minimum.


Arctic sea ice cover is made of frozen seawater that floats on top of the ocean. It helps regulate the planet’s temperature by reflecting solar energy back to space, and the sea ice cap naturally grows and shrinks with the seasons. Progressive thinning of its extend means more open ocean as the melt eats away at the ice pack.

Due to the effects of climate change, the Arctic sea ice has been in decline since roughly the 1970s, but recent research reveals the thinning is actually accelerating. According to a study published in March in the journal The Cryosphere, September sea ice thinned a whopping 85 percent (from 9.8 feet to 1.4 feet, or 3 to 0.43 m) between 1975 and 2012. We’ve seen the 10 lowest minimum extents in satellite history in the last 11 years.

The record holder for the lease Arctic sea ice hit back in 2012, when the ice covered a mere 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square km), but even back then scientists understood that the low was driven partially by an August storm. Low sea-ice minimum extent has historically been at least in part exacerbated by meteorological factors, but what is most concerning about this years numbers is that this was not the case this year.

There is an obvious ongoing downward trend in ice coverage. And worse, sea ice is becoming less and less resilient.

“The sea-ice cap, which used to be a solid sheet of ice, now is fragmented into smaller floes that are more exposed to warm ocean waters,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “In the past, Arctic sea ice was like a fortress. The ocean could only attack it from the sides. Now, it’s like the invaders have tunneled in from underneath and the ice pack melts from within.”

In June, Arctic ice was melting relatively slowly, but it sped up in July and continued through August. North of Alaska, an actual “hole” opened up in the ice pack covering the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, allowing the ocean to absorb even more heat leading to further melt.

Starting next week, NASA’s Operation IceBridge will be carrying out a series of flights over sea ice in the Arctic to validate satellite readings and provide insight into the impact of the recent melt on land and sea ice. Unfortunately, this continued degradation of the Arctic ice shown no sign of slowing.

Arctic Scare Increasing

Over the past two or three decades the notion of Global Warming has been a problem regarding melting sea ice and the rapid decline in Polar Bears. Even though these are major concerns in the environment, what is now a real cause for concern is the warm temperature in the Arctic has caused  the thawing of frozen soil. Frozen soil is a lighter term for permafrost, and permafrost emits carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. This emission can weaken the already beaten up Ozone Layer.

What makes researchers most nervous is, “There may be more than twice as much carbon contained in northern permafrost as there is in the atmosphere itself. That’s a staggering thought.” Even though there is already around 24% of permafrost currently emitted in the atmosphere, the idea of having close to or above 50% is frightening. 

Robert Max, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center explained in detail how permafrost works and how environmentally devastating it can be. “As permafrost thaws, microbes start to chow down on the organic material that it contains, and as that material decomposes, it emits either carbon dioxide or methane. Experts think most of the release will take the form of carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas driving global warming — but even a small fraction released as methane can have major consequences.”

The reason for high levels of carbon and methane in the melting Arctic is the amount of dead animals and plants which have decomposed in the frozen Arctic and are beginning to thaw and release all of these gases at once. Even though permafrost is not the greatest concern of the melting Arctic, it still posses a threat which gives concerns to many researchers and scientists.

For more Arctic news and updates, please visit Larry Mayer‘s official website.



Arctic Ice Thinning

Over the past few decades, the idea the fact that the Arctic ice had been thinning is to no ones surprise. Many blame the concern of Global Warming and other outstanding factors to play a major part in the fairly recent hot climate in the arctic. One thing that everyone can agree on is the amount of snow melting and ice thinning in the arctic year after year. The percent of ice and snow that has thinned over the course of forty to fifty years is staggering after research done by the University of Washington.

Ron Lindsay, a researcher at the University explained, “We knew the ice was thinning, but we now have additional confirmation on how fast, and we can see that it’s not slowing down.” Even though everyone expected the ice to continue the melt, the speed in which it is melting is alarming to many researchers and scientists looking to preserve the Arctic. From 1975 to 2012, roughly 65% of the ice in some regions of the Arctic has thinned. Essentially more then half of the ice which was once there in 1975 is now either gone or on the verge on melting away for good. The numbers get more alarming from there, in that same 37 year span from 1975-2014 the total percentage of thinned ice in the region is down 85%. 

The reason the numbers are so alarming is because of the abundance of land which was once there and inhabited by various forms of life such as polar bears, and sea lions are now facing extinction since their habitat is literally melting underneath their very feet. Many are concerned within the next two years, we could see a complete new landscape where the Arctic currently sits. This change could vastly change the outlook of sea level risings and other concerns which were once thought not a concern.

For more news updates about the Arctic, check out Larry Mayer‘s Official Website.

Arctic Sea Levels – Stable

An Inconvenient Truth, the infamous Al Gore documentary where he spoke about Global Warming and the almost certain fate of the Earth. According to Gore, the polar ice caps would melt out by 2015 due to the rapid change in temperature causing harm and potentially killing various species and could harm the Earth as a whole. Although, Gore’s predictions of Earth’s fate was way off as we closed out 2014. In fact, the arctic sea and ice levels have remained stable for the past couple of years which is fantastic news.

According to the DailyCaller, “Arctic Sea ice levels are above where they were at the same time last winter and are well within the the standard deviation of the 1981 to 2010 variation, according to daily sea ice data. Europe’s CryoSat-2 satellite found that sea-ice volumes for the fall of 2014 were above the average extent for the last five years.” Also, researchers and experts of the Arctic such as Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, claimed, “Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted. Most people think the poles are melting… they’re not. This is a huge inconvenience that reality is now catching up with climate alarmists, who were predicting that the poles would be melting fairly soon.” Even though Gore’s predictions on the melting of the polar ice caps were off, many still believe we may see the ice begin to melt at a rapid pace.

While many scientists remain optimistic that that ice caps will continue to remain at this level, some believe we can see the arctic ice free by 2030 if the rate of Global Warming continues. Environmentalists at the Center for Biological Diversity stated, “The Arctic could be ice-freeas soon as 2012. It wasn’t. Now, the group climate scientists say the Arctic could be completely ice-free in the summer by the 2030s. Scientists also argue that future global temperature rises will continue to shrink the Arctic until it is ice-free, maybe even in our lifetimes.” These environmentalists have mis predicted in the past but seem very confident about this new guess that by summer of 2030 we will have no ice in the Arctic.

Hopes are we will out live this new prediction of 2030 and continue to keep our polar ice caps stable. For more information on the topic, please visit the DailyCaller‘s article. Also please visit http://larrymayerunh.com for more information about the Arctic and the Ocean.